Support Groups for the Terminally Ill
Finding out that you are terminally ill is a frightening and disheartening experience, and can be quite lonely, as well. Patients are often hesitant to reveal all of their complicated emotions to close friends and family members, who are likely to be going through rough adjustments, too.
Despite the fact that confiding in those closest may be difficult, many terminally ill patients feel the need to express their fears in order to work through them. Participation in support groups can offer outlets for emotion, as well as providing a sense of connectedness to others who are travelling the same road.
Finding a Local GroupPatients interested in locating support groups in their neighbourhoods can begin their search by inquiring at their doctor's office or hospital. Some groups hold meetings in the common areas of hospitals, others in churches or community centres, and in some areas, support groups may even gather in the homes of one or more members.
Support groups are readily available on most large communities, but even small towns may host opportunities for terminally ill patients to gather and offer one another ongoing support and encouragement.
Groups may be of a general variety, with people undergoing treatment for a variety of illnesses in attendance, or may be specific to a certain illness or disorder. Often, those suffering from rare illnesses may have a more difficult time locating local meetings than those who have been diagnosed with more common ailments.
Online Support GroupsEasy access to the internet has made it possible for people from all across the world to "meet" and form bonds, typically by connecting through membership in one of the popular social networking sites. Many of these sites allow members to organise groups, and support groups for all varieties of illness are common.
Often, these online friendships can become quite meaningful, with people growing close by sharing their feelings, hopes, and fears while enjoying the relative anonymity of internet participation.
Supporting One AnotherOften, terminally ill patients are the recipients of enormous outpourings of sympathy from friends, coworkers, and loved ones, but as well meaning as this type of attention is, it can be tiresome for those who are doing all that they can to direct at least some of their focus on anything except their illness.
By forming connections with others who are in the same position, terminally ill patients can be free to express all of their emotions, even those that may be taken as an offence from those in their closest circle, and can even take time to explore other aspects of their lives, beyond their illness and treatment.
Being seriously ill can become all-consuming, but those who get involved in support groups may find some relief from their own situation by focusing on the lives of other members.
Coping with terminal illness goes far beyond merely managing symptoms and exploring treatment options. Often, the emotional components of serious illness can be every bit as troublesome as the physical aspects. Illness has the power to change everything about a person's life - from their personal relationships to their financial situation, and sometimes, these changes can in themselves be overwhelming.
The ability to connect with others who truly understand the experiences associated with terminal illness can be an enormous gift to those who are manoeuvring this difficult and confusing time.